Lina frowned, not saying a word. This was not the time to jest; Schiller would not lie.
Schiller looked at Richard and sighed, “I am the one who adopted Waterflower, after all; she’s like a daughter to me. Of course I’d want her to be chosen to leave this place. But I have to say; apart from the purity of her body, which will be valuable to you, she really isn’t worthy of a soul contract.”
However, Richard had already taken out the contract, “I scanned her just now. She can carry grade 4 runes, possibly even grade 5. It doesn’t matter anymore whether she has bloodline abilities.”
“Grade 5 runes?” Lina and Schiller were both shocked. Even just grade 4 runes would allow her to become a third grade rune knight! This was the power level of one of Gaton’s knights, even if at the lower end! Indeed, such rune capacity would totally make up for a lack of bloodline abilities. Waterflower would be much more valuable than Gangdor that way, worthy of a soul contract.
However, Richard didn’t mention all of his observations. Waterflower had a capacity as high as 153 points, far more than the eighty to a hundred and twenty needed for a grade 4 rune. In this regard, even Flowsand with her 180 points of capacity wasn’t much better. On top of that, the magic had radiated from all over Waterflower’s body; she had as many as eight possible positions on her body, one more than Flowsand’s seven!
‘Daybreak’ Flowsand was a cleric of the Church of the Eternal Dragon in Faust, one who could possibly take the position of the current high priestess Ferlyn in the future. She was a talent to be reckoned with. Waterflower was already a monster for having more rune positions than her!
“Waterflower, come here,” Schiller waved the girl over. At this point, neither he nor Lina had any objections anymore.
The young girl looked at the three people before her with caution, but from their conversation she was more or less aware of what was going to happen. She moved over hesitantly, her guard held high. This was something that she’d learnt from beasts; to be extremely careful and alert when facing anyone or anything with great strength, regardless of their identity.
Schiller glanced over at Waterflower with an inexplicable look in his eyes, “You will be Master Richard’s soulguard from today, and won’t have to stay here anymore. You will be his second lifeline, someone who shares his destiny. Always act like how you did here, continuing to improve your power.
“And take this blade! It’s been with me for years, I think it’ll suit you.” Schiller unlatched the metre long war blade from his waist and tossed it to Waterflower. She caught it in an instant, moving back at the speed of lightning as she looked at the other members of the camp. She only drew out a portion of the blade once she was sure that nobody would ambush her.
The weapon was less than three centimetres wide, with almost no reflections coming off the jet-black blade. It seemed inexplicably obscure, giving off an unnerving vibe as it left its sheath.
Lina was a master in appraisal as well, and she exclaimed the moment she saw the blade being drawn, “Mythical Goldsand! This is the Shepherd of Eternal Rest!”
Richard was shocked by it too. This material was indeed superior to even alchemic blacksteel, one of the highest-quality metals used to forge weapons. Weapons formed from it would be twice as strong as ordinary carbon steel weapons, also able to bear the power of two more enchantments. The sword Waterflower had in her hands was made by a great master, with the enchantments of Bleed, Tear, Sharpen, and Armour Break added within. Its power was clear.
Waterflower finally walked towards Richard under Schiller’s urging, kneeling down upon Lina’s orders. It was obvious from her expression and the cautious fiddling of her fingers that this proximity caused her great discomfort. It was possible she could hurt someone at any moment. With the Shepherd of Eternal Rest in her hands, and within such a small distance at that, even Lina felt uneasy.
Lina ended up casting two calming spells on Waterflower, finally causing the wolf-like teenager to settle down a little. Richard slowly unfurled the soul contract in his hands, chanting the spell written upon it. “In the name of Eternity, I unite my soul with the person before my eyes…”
As the chant was read out, the contract started to emit a beam of golden light that grew brighter and brighter. It disintegrated piece by piece, becoming grains of sand scattered in the air to form a golden cloud of dust. Waterflower raised her head slightly, gazing curiously at the coagulated magical sand that seemed to have taken a part of her life. She felt no more fear, instead a faint anticipation. Her sharp intuition let her know that this was the moment her destiny was changed.
The spell was complex and tedious, but finally all the golden grains of sand suddenly gathered into a stream of light. The light instantly shone onto Waterflower’s forehead, condensing between her brows into an hourglass of light gold. It quickly turned upside down, its traces slowly disappearing into her body. Waterflower grew sluggish, fainting with a grunt while Richard felt like a portion of his soul had been extracted from his body in a split second, vanishing into the depths of space.
A strong sense of weakness struck Richard’s heart, and he couldn’t help but stagger two steps back, leaning into a warm embrace. Lina had been well-prepared, catching him before he fell. The Dragonmage was fully aware of the consequences of soul contracts, so she took out two energy potions that she’d prepared beforehand. One she passed to Richard, while the other was fed to Waterflower.
Richard felt his strength return slowly once he took the potion, growing a little better. He realised then that he could clearly tell Waterflower’s exact location from just his mind, also being aware of the state of her mind.
The girl slowly got up again. She bolted out of Lina’s arms the moment she regained consciousness, unsheathing the sword and observing her surroundings warily. Richard could feel that she did not know why she’d lost consciousness, and was instinctively trying to identify unknown enemies.
The youthful girl looked at Richard in surprise, as if she felt the effects of the soul contract as well. Richard sent her waves of comfort through their connection, having her calm down enough to sheath the sword again and steadily inch towards him. With the power of the contract acting on her, Richard’s breath felt like the safest and most peaceful place in the world.
Schiller let out a long sigh, “You’ve already chosen a soulguard, it’s time to leave this place. I hear that your schedule is quite tight.”
Richard nodded, turning his back to leave only to feel the earth suddenly shaking. A thunderous roar echoed from behind him, “Hey there, young master! That Waterflower chick is pretty awesome, but Gangdor isn’t all that bad too! Now at least she’s no match for me. Look, my axe can’t handle the hunger anymore. See how rough and tough it is! It sure won’t let you down!”
Richard stopped in his tracks, staring at the tough man who’d darted all the way here. Waterflower took a careful step forward, gripping tightly onto the Shepherd of Eternal Rest. With this sword in hand she wasn’t afraid of him at all.
Richard hesitated for a while, before he said to Schiller, “I want to take this person with me too.”
Schiller muttered to himself for abit and replied, “Although the orders were for one protector, it isn’t forbidden to take a second with you as long as Marquess Gaton provides some additional compensation. However, I need to remind you that there is no loyalty with the people who come from the death camp. Only great power can force them into submission. My suggestion is to use an enslavement contract, you’ll come to see that the investment is worth it.”
Richard nodded, turning towards the giant brute. Gangdor had consciously kept a 15-metre distance from him, avoiding stepping into the danger zone. Richard asked him, “Then are you willing to bear a slave contract?”
Gangdor laughed, “If you need me to prove my loyalty, I gladly accept! As long as I can leave this damned place, as long as I can slaughter my way through a real battlefield, I can do anything! Look at this rough and tough axe, it can’t handle the—”
“Alright, I get it!” Richard cut him off, turning to the Dragonmage, “Lina?”
“The preparations are complete.” Lina took out a crimson scroll, throwing it over to Gangdor. The brute opened the scroll without hesitation, activating its power. A dark beam of light immediately bore through his chest, but even with the immense pain he only slightly bit his lip. Another black beam entered Richard’s body.
Magic enslavement contracts were rare and precious. Through it, Richard could cause intense pain, even serious damage whenever his heart desired. If he died, anyone contracted to him would experience a significant permanent drop in power. In Norland, where power meant everything, this sort of severe punishment was unbearable.
An enslavement contract was far less powerful than a soul contract, but it was still an effective restriction. Everybody accompanying Richard on his journey this time would be bound to him in the same way, with the obvious exception of Flowsand.
Lina was still on her guard. When the contract was completed, she used soul magic again to carefully investigate Gangdor and confirm that the contract was in effect. Richard then nodded his head in acknowledgement.
Gangdor then excitedly waved his giant axe and shouted at the other members of the death camp, “You maggots! Your good days have arrived. I, Gangdor, am finally getting the hell out of this damned place! You don’t need to cower under my giant axe, praise your luck for that! Hahaha!”
Looking at the growling Gangdor, Richard suddenly felt his head ache. He said to Schiller, “This was your original best recommendation?”
“If we’re looking at the aspect of battle power, then yes. Of course, that was excluding Waterflower,” Schiller replied expressionlessly.
Richard studied Gangdor again, as well as that eye-catching axe of his that was ‘unable to handle the hunger.’ He sighed, “Alright, let’s get going. We still need to continue on the journey tomorrow.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Theo: Another chapter coming today. Also, book 1 is coming to an end the day after, so action incoming!
Translated By: Gem
Edited By: Theo
TLC By: OMA